Washington Streamlines Lease Execution Process

Washington has recently passed a law simplifying the lease execution process for landlords and tenants of commercial property. The Washington Substitute Senate Bill 5840 (“SSB 5840”), signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee on March 13, 2024, amends RCW 59.04.010 and RCW 64.04.010, removing the notary requirement for commercial leases for a term of more than one year. As of June 6, 2024, Washington State no longer requires acknowledgment, witnesses, or seals for any leases. Prior to SSB 5840, Washington leases for a term of more than one year required the landlord’s signature to be notarized to be valid and enforceable. Failure to comply with the acknowledgment requirements had significant consequences, such as courts invalidating and refusing to enforce the terms of the lease.

This new law brings Washington’s commercial lease requirements in line with most other states, including Oregon and California. Washington was one of the few states that had required commercial leases with terms longer than a year to be acknowledged before a notary. As the notarization requirement has been a burden for many individuals, this new law is a welcome change that simplifies these transactions, particularly for remote signatories or those signing electronically, streamlining commercial lease executions.

However, the new legislation does not eliminate the need for notarized signatures on a recorded lease or memorandum of lease. In other words, any lease or memorandum of lease that will be recorded must still be notarized and acknowledged under RCW 64.04.010 which states, “to be recorded, a lease and a memorandum of lease must have the lessee’s and lessor’s signatures acknowledged.” Maintaining this requirement for recorded leases ensures authenticity and protects parties that use and rely on public land title records.

If you have any questions about SSB 5840 or need help with a commercial real estate transaction, please contact Angela Hill at  angelah@summitlaw.com or (206) 676-7086.

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  • Angela A. Hill
    Attorney

    As former in-house counsel to a real estate development company, Angela brings a practical and business-focused mindset to her work. She is recognized by clients for her efficiency, effectiveness, and creative solutions as well as ...

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